Alumni profile

Emeritus Prof John McKenzie AM FAA

Bachelor of Biological Sciences (Hons), 1970
PhD Genetics, 1974

Former Deputy Chancellor, La Trobe University

An eminent scientist, Emeritus Professor John McKenzie AM FAA is regarded as a world leader in ecological and evolutionary genetics.

John is a visionary leader and passionate advocate for science education and is highly regarded for his mentoring of the next generation of scientists, teachers and research supervisors.

John excelled in his role as Secretary for Education and Public Awareness of the Australian Academy of Science, where he pioneered an innovative science program being used in most Australian primary schools today.

Having endured more than 40 years of significant health issues, John has used his personal experience to help others facing cancer, chemotherapy and liver transplantation.

As a graduate, John has made significant contributions to La Trobe University, including serving as Deputy Chancellor and as a council member.

In the years that John spent at La Trobe as a student, lecturer and Deputy Chancellor, he felt like he was part of a community.

"It made you feel just very special,” John said.

“It was a very strange university education because it was very small. It was about a third of Glenn College and a third of the library. 

But it meant your access to lecturers ... was really one-on-one from very early in the piece.

The education that John received at La Trobe influenced the way he would teach in subsequent years.

“I always had an open door policy because that’s what I experienced in my years at the university," he said.

“I still have probably 10 people who I would regard as being the most important friends in my life that I went through university with.”

Distinguished Science

Last updated: 7th May 2019